Our Amanda tells all about what it’s like to train as a Wakey Wheeled Kitten, and what to expect when you join the Cats…
Guest Blog by Amanda Brown
“I went to watch the Wakey Wheeled Cats play a home game against Sheffield Crucibelles after a friend had been trying to persuade me, at length, that I might enjoy Roller Derby. Watching the Wakey ladies fly both effortlessly and powerfully around the track, I knew I was witnessing something special, something I wanted to be a part of but truthfully, I had my doubts. I had only been walking without crutches (due to long term health issues) for about three months when I saw the match and was very unsure as to how well I would cope on skates.
I was encouraged by some very friendly Cats at the Sheffield match to come to the next set of taster days to get a feel for things and see if it was something I could do. Over the next two months I concentrated on getting as healthy as I could. The taster days were focused around helping everyone to find their feet, or should I say wheels, helped one-to-one by the leagues fully fledged Cats. Wonderfully patient, friendly and encouraging, the Cats set the precedent for the ‘Kittens’ training programme approach. If this was an example of the ethics of Cats training then I wanted in!
I have now been with the ‘Kittens’ training programme for three months. I have found that all of the coaches want to bring out the best in you, it might feel like you’ll never get the hang of a new skill but you persevere and so do they, celebrating with you when it happens.
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved off-skates too, with inter-league social and fun events giving everyone a chance to get to know one another better. I think this social aspect is what helps give the team a sense of unity. As well as social/fun events the Kittens and trainee referees are encouraged and helped to take part in the Wakey’s bouts as ‘NSO’s (non-skating officials). Tentatively, for the Cats’ away match vs. Liverpool Roller Birds, I signed up for a spot of NSO-ing. I was a little nervous about my rather humble and basic understandings of how roller derby matches work, but I was soon put at ease by our NSO co-ordinator who explained my role and the requirements. Whilst I couldn’t celebrate a team win that day, what was celebrated (by me at least) was the chance to see a more of the wonderful world of roller derby, see the game from a new point of view and have fun with my new team mates.
Coming up in three months’ time I will be taking what is called a ‘minimum skills test’, designed to test whether you are a safe enough skater before beginning any contact based training. I’m a little nervous but if I kept listening to the voice inside that told be me my body wouldn’t be able to cope with skating then I wouldn’t be here at practice. Here at practice, jumping on skates, weaving through cones, turning 360 degrees at speed or jumping over the legs of a trusting and confident coach. Wakey Wheeled Cats has given me back some respect for my body , a positive mental attitude, confidence, support and new friends (a whole lot of new friends) and I’m sure that the team can do the same for the new intake of Kittens that join us.
If you’re interested in joining or would like to learn more about Wakey Wheeled Cats, come along to our of our open days:
Saturday December 6: 11.30am-1pm
Saturday January 31: 11.30am – 1pm
Wednesday February 4: 7pm-8pm
All our sessions are held at Lightwaves Leisure Centre, Marsh Way, Wakefield, and training starts for new members on Wednesday February 11th at 7pm.